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UN launches ‘climate neutral’ project with Microsoft, Sony, Adidas

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The United Nations launched a major new initiative on Tuesday designed to encourage businesses and consumers to voluntarily become ‘climate neutral’ and some of the world’s leading companies including Microsoft, Sony, Adidas have already pledged their support.

The Climate Neutral Now scheme urges governments, companies and individuals to measure their climate footprint, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and offset the remainder of their remissions.

The aim of the project is to encourage voluntary action from the private sector and consumers to help reduce GHG emissions and facilitate a global transition to carbon neutrality by 2050.

The initiative is also designed to support the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December when an ambitious and historic global climate agreement is due to be signed to prevent an average global temperature increase of 2°C above pre-industrial times that scientists say would cause catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said: “Climate neutrality is a long term vision of the world we want this century and backed by science. The new universal agreement to be inked in Paris this December at COP21 needs to be a springboard to that future. It is going to require action today and tomorrow and everyone needs to get on board– from governments and corporations to cities, regions and individuals”.

The initiative includes a new online platform that enables users to choose from a range of Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) for UN-verified carbon offsets and includes links to organisations that can provide businesses with climate footprint measurement and reduction advice and support.

The scheme was launched at Climate Week in New York City on Tuesday and celebrities including actor Edward Norton and designer Vivenne Westwood have also committed to supporting the initiative.

Ed Norton said: “We all need to take personal responsibility to combat the threat of climate change. Join me in the Climate Neutral Now initiative to reduce the impact of climate change and offset carbon emissions. Help protect the ecosystems that sustain biodiversity and save the livelihoods of billions of people around the world.”

Other leading firms including IKEA and Marks & Spencer’s have pledge their support for the initiative as well as numerous SMEs and business associations.

Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist Rob Bernard said: “Microsoft believes that companies – and particularly information technology companies – have an important role to play in reducing carbon emissions. In 2012, this belief led our company to set an ambitious goal to be 100 per cent carbon neutral. We have accomplished this by boosting efficiencies, investing in renewable energy and funding a carbon offset programme.”

Bernard added: “We are supporting Climate Neutral Now because we believe in the power of accountability and have witnessed the transformative nature of carbon offset projects and sustainable community development, particularly in emerging nations.”

Figueres added: “I’ve already pledged to personally become Climate Neutral Now and invite you to join me in measuring, reducing and offsetting your emissions. Over time the need for offsets is going to decline as energy systems become ever more low carbon, healthy ecosystems like forests expand and we arrive at a climate neutral world in the second half of the century. Climate change will affect everyone, yet everyone can effect positive change starting today and beginning now.”

At the launch of Climate Week NYC 2015 on Tuesday, Leonardo DiCaprio announced he will divest his multi-million dollar fortune as part of the growing global divestment movement that now exceeds $2.6 trillion.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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